In the week leading up to the Oscar Pistorius trial verdict, it still hasn't been proven exactly what happened on Valentine’s Day 2013 at the Olympian’s South African home. Pistorius claims he accidentally shot and killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The prosecution contends that the couple had gotten into a fight prior to the shooting, which led to Pistorius firing four bullets at the model, who had locked herself in the bathroom.
Neighbors, expert witnesses, and Pistorius himself have all testified in court, as Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa looks to determine the future of the defendant. For premeditated murder, the mandatory sentence in South Africa is a life sentence.
Below is a look at the timeline of events on the night of Steekamp’s death, according to Pistorius.
- The couple went to bed at about 10 p.m. This was initially debated by the prosecution when Professor Gert Saayman told the court that evidence showed Steenkamp had last eaten about two hours before she died after 3 a.m. Anaesthetist Professor Christina Lundgren later explained that it could not be stated for sure when Pistorius’s girlfriend last ingested food.
- Pistorius woke up later in the night because he was hot. He left the bed without putting on his prosthetic legs and moved two fans that were on the balcony into his room. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel claims the balcony door was never open.
- Pistorius was going to use Steenkamp’s jeans to cover an LED light, but he heard a window opening in the bathroom. He grabbed his gun and, in the dark, told his girlfriend to call the police.
- Once he got to the bathroom door, Pistorius yelled for the intruder to leave his house, in addition to calling for Steenkamp to phone the police. When he heard a sound and thought the intruder was getting ready to come out of the bathroom, he opened fire.
- After firing four bullets, Pistorius went back to his room to check on Steenkamp. The model was not in the bed, nor was she behind the curtains where he thought she might have been hiding. The double-amputee went back to the bathroom, but discovered that the door was locked.
- Pistorius ran back to the bedroom, where he put on his prosthetic legs and claims he screamed for help on the balcony. According to Nel, pictures of the crimes scene prove that Pistorius didn’t go onto the balcony, because one of the fans would have blocked his path.
- Upon returning to the bathroom, Pistorius was unable to break down the door with his body. He successfully used a cricket bat to break a hole in the door and reach for a key, which allowed him to get inside the bathroom. Defense attorney Barry Roux says gunshots were fired at 3:12 a.m. and neighbors heard sounds of the bat hitting the door five minutes later. The prosecution argues that the noises neighbors heard at 3:17 a.m. were the gunshots.
- Steekamp was found lying on the floor and a distraught Pistorius began to cry. He used his phone to call a neighbor, and called for an ambulance and security at his estate in the next two minutes.
- Dr. Johannn Stipp encountered Pistorius trying to save his girlfriend downstairs near the front door. Stipp arrived after hearing loud noises at Pistorius’s home, and tried to save Steenkamp, though he knew she would not survive. Shortly after, police arrived at the scene.